Ask HR


Disobeying your boss is insubordination

Q. I am one of the lead sales executives for a real estate company. We have a WhatsApp group that includes the marketing manager and our directors. Often, the directors’ request for ideas from members. The marketing manager, who is my immediate boss, does not like the fact that I am getting frequent recognition from the directors. He recently summoned me and ordered that I share ideas with him, instead of posting them on the group. I know he feels threatened by me, but my intentions are not to upstage him. Should I do as he orders?


Could it be that you are sharing ideas that contradict the department’s strategy hence the demand by your boss that you first share the ideas with him?

Also, could it be that you are seen to be withholding ideas from your team, only to present them in another forum? If this is the case, it may seem like you are doing this to look good in the directors’ eyes at the expense of the team.

You might also come across as self-seeking and not a team player. You must understand that your boss has the ultimate say in your development to improve your skill set, competencies and leadership skills. He is also the one who has the most influence in your career growth; you should, therefore, strive to inculcate a good working relationship with him.

My advice is that you “bounce” off the ideas with him and members of your marketing team before you share them in the group. You could also consider proposing to your boss that he initiate a WhatsApp group specifically for the marketing team for discussing ideas. This will form a precursor to the larger group and will also encourage teamwork.

That said, your boss should appreciate that times have changed, therefore ideas need not necessarily emanate from him, however, to restore your working relationship with your boss, reassure him that your intentions are noble, and agree on an amicable way of working.

To your question, yes, obey the instructions from your boss, otherwise, you will be accused of insubordination.

While it is good to be known as the person with good ideas, it is equally important, if not more important, that you prove yourself as an employee that appreciates teamwork and relates well with the boss.

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